Last week the issue of free trade took a center stage in international discussions and two famous world leaders speaking on different fora expressed divergent views on the same subject matter.These world leaders were President Donald Trump of united states of America and president Mohammed Buhari of Nigeria.
President Trump while addressing the world Economic Summit in Davos, switzerland postulated that every leader should believe in his country and present the interest of his people first
“I believe in America as president of the United States. I will always put America first, just like the leaders of other countries should put their country first, also,but America first does not mean America alone. When the United States grows, so does the world.”
He advocated partnership and friendship among nations ” I’m here today to represent the interests of the American people and to affirm America’s friendship and partnership in building a better world. Like all nations represented at this great forum”he declared.
He proposed a World economy where every leader will see his domestic economy as first,ensure growth and prosperity of his people and contribute this growth to world economy in the form of partnership and friendship. According to him”America hopes for a future in which everyone can prosper and every child can grow up free from violence, poverty and fear…….The world is witnessing the resurgence of a strong and prosperous America”.
In his view, free trade means America is open for investment and the environment has been made conducive for business with necessary laws put in place to ensure business survival. His message was clear when he exclaimed “There has never been a better time to hire, to build, to invest, and to grow in the United States. America is open for business, and we are competitive once again.”
he however assured that their economy will be protected from free and open trade especially where it is exploitative and not reciprocal.
On the other hand, the Nigerian president Mohammed Buhari speaking on the 30th African summit that ended in Addis Ababa the Ethiopian Capital
The president says the establishment of a single, unified market in Africa will increase trade, create more jobs and reduce poverty.
Buhari adds that Nigeria’s position is in Favour of the report on the establishment of a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA).
“It is Nigeria’s position that as African leaders and principal architects of our Union, we must now speed up action to conclude the negotiations and establish the CFTA,”Buhari said.
The president adds that; “In a rapidly changing global economy, with much uncertainty, we believe that the establishment of a CFTA would provide Africa with tremendous opportunity to achieve significant growth driven by intra-African trade.
“The primary objective (of CFTA) is economic, namely, for trade in goods and services on the continent. A single, unified market would lead to a comprehensive and mutually beneficial trade agreement amongst African Union member States.
“If we integrate Africa’s market for trade in goods and services, we will not only double intra-African trade, but also negotiate with other regions or continents on trade matters.
“If we increase our trade, we grow faster, create more jobs and reduce poverty. Thus, with CFTA, our Continent will be more integrated ,united and prosperous.”
Now the question is protectionism and free trade where do we go?